Addressing the backlog of public health visits and routine health screenings for babies in their first year needs to be prioritised, a Fine Gael TD has said. Deputy Emer Higgins has called on the HSE to put in place an urgent catch up programme to ensure babies receive the developmental check-ups they need within their first year.
“Babies born during lockdown entered into a very different world than the children that came before them. The public health measures were of course necessary, but they have impacted on the rollout of health check-ups that would have happened on a routine basis before the pandemic. “We know that over half of babies born just before or during the pandemic did not receive a very important developmental check-up before they turned one. These health checks are so important for assessing physical health, motor skills, sensory development and picking up any initial developmental issues.
“They also give huge reassurance to parents who just want to know that all is well with their child,” said Deputy Higgins. “But if these check-ups aren’t carried out it can be difficult for parents to find out something as simple as how much their baby weighs or how much they have grown since their last appointment. “The HSE needs to put in place an urgent catch up programme to ensure babies receive the developmental check-ups they need within their first year. All medical professionals including our public health nurses and speech and language therapists, need to be back in these jobs, doing this vital community work and not redeployed elsewhere,” concluded Deputy Higgins.